A landmark American documentary, Salesman captures in vivid detail the bygone era of the door-to-door salesman. While laboring to sell a gold-embossed version of the Good Book, Paul Brennan and his colleagues target the beleaguered masses—then face the demands of quotas and the frustrations of life on the road. Following Brennan on his daily rounds, the Maysles discover a real-life Willy Loman, walking the line from hype to despair.
With his brother David, Albert Maysles became one of the chief exponents of the “direct cinema” school of documentary filmmaking. The brothers began working as a team in 1957, each having previously been involved in film in very different ways—Albert making a documentary on Soviet mental institutions and David working as production assistant on two Marilyn Monroe movies. The Maysles brothers designed their own portable equipment to help in their goal of capturing the raw, spontaneous flow of experience, without intruding into the situations being filmed and were influenced by Robert Drew and Richard Leacock, with whom they had worked on “Primary” (1960).
Born and raised in Massachusetts, this son of Russian Jewish immigrants developed a childhood interest in photography. After receiving his MA in psychology, Maysles traveled to Russia and shot photographs inside mental hospitals. Although he was unsuccessful in selling those pictures, he did manage to obtain a movie camera from… read more
Documentary filmmaker David Maysles and his brother, Albert Maysles, played important roles in the development of cinema verité, designing highly portable cameras and sound equipment that gave filmmakers minimal intrusion while documenting their subjects. Before teaming up with his brother in 1957, Maysles worked as a production assistant on two Marilyn Monroe features. The Maysles brothers formed their own production company in 1962 and went on to make many documentary films for both the big screen and television. Their best-known documentaries are Salesman (1969) and Gimme Shelter (1970); the latter was a disturbing, controversial chronicle of a Rolling Stones concert during which four people were killed by the Hell’s Angels hired by the band to keep fans off the stage. The Maysles captured one of those brutal murders on film, repeatedly showing it throughout the documentary. In 1974, David Maysles was nominated for an Academy Award for Valley Curtain, the first of three documentaries… read more
touching & insightful...how sad it is to see so many people obviously yearning for communion (with art, with God, with other people) reduced to mere consumers by a dispassionate and spiritually bankrupt enterprise, and how sad to see individuals made into the increasingly reluctant agents of a destructive process out of (what is hinted to be) financial necessity. ennui abounds.
Interesting film, one of the best character studies. Salesmen echos modern times boldly, people just want to connect and survive--the salesmen will go to any length to sell an unnecessary product and the individuals will invite anyone into their home who will give them the time of day. Given safety and society has shifted a bit, the key pieces are still the same. Well worth the watch.
A film about the underbelly of a cruel capitalistic society in the form of four bible salesmen. Content wise, the perfect film for someone like me. The images of them drearily promoting their bibles… read review
This film plays like a fiction. True characters, almost too human to be real. Were this not a documentary, I’d say this film were a metaphor, an allegory of man’s inability to escape the faith –… read review